A Shared Anxiety

Michele Catalano
5 min readNov 22, 2020

Anxiety and depression are lonely afflictions. You often feel like no one understands you, that you are alone in how you feel and act on a daily basis, that the world does not want to hear about your despair. Maybe you go to therapy, maybe you write in a journal, but that’s the extent of sharing how debilitating your mental health issues are; it’s all between you and your therapist or you and yourself. No one else needs to know, because no one else will get it.

I’ve tried to explain my general anxiety disorder to people before, how it’s not just like being nervous about a specific event, but more like the low rumbling of storm clouds living inside your brain. It’s ever present, always threatening. Not everyone understands it, not everyone wants to. And that’s fine, because I tend to close myself off when it comes to my anxiety, anyhow. It’s mine. It’s not something I always want to share, and as much as I hate it, I am protective of it.

But then: a pandemic set in and, with it, myriad problems — economic uncertainty, massive death, the specter of the virus hanging over us, each of us wondering when it’s going to be our turn to either get it or maybe lose a loved one to it. We’re all reeling, we’re all living each day not knowing if we’re going to be locked down soon, we cough and wonder if we’re dying, we navigate the outside world like a minefield.